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Gyuto with forge welded iron bolsters


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Some time ago I was introduced to the belduque fighting knife of the early American southwest. These things had iron bolsters that were forge welded on rather than pinned. I loved this idea so I made a belduque using that method and it came out just beautifully. In many respects belduques look an awful like kitchen knives. So.. here is a gyuto-style kitchen knife forged from Aldo 1075 and with some nicely refined 19th century wrought iron bolsters forge welded on. These pictures are just after heat treat and mid-finish grinding. This blade will get a single bevel edge Japanese-style... flat on one side and very, very gentle hollow grind on the other. More pictures later!


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any tips after having successfully forge welded the bolster? I am definitely going to try it.

 

Flat and clean. Tack weld the bolsters. And set the weld GENTLY. It's very easy to distort the steel core between the two pieces.

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cool idea, you could totally take this to the next level by fileworking the joint into a molding like detail.

Oh yes Matthew... Belduque bolsters were heavily worked. I did a lame 'round file' groove on the belduque I made. I can do a little better now. But this is a commission... nothing has been mentioned yet. And sometimes clean simples surfaces are better on kitchen cutlery...

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Wow. That's just beautiful. Nice work on the bolsters, Scott. I really like the belduque in general, and I had not known the bolsters were welded on. That's pretty cool.

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Thanks guys.

 

Yeah Jan.. this is the first time I've used this stuff. Much cleaner than what I normally use. I find that I'm appreciating cleaner wrought as I age. :-) Speaking of which..... here is another little kitchen knife I recently finished. Wrought san mai...

 

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Thanks Miles....

 

Those look great scott! What do you do to get such a wild pattern on the weld line?

 

Nate... That knife was forged out to the point that the wrought iron was practically paper thin. I used aggressive fullering dies on my press to get there... which left very, very subtle high and low spots for when I was grinding...

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I remember the last one you did with welded bolsters it was sweet. I always thought that was a cool idea.This one is looking good too.

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well I'm stuck on this. I decided to do it as a hidden tang and it turns out that this decision makes it 100 times harder to fit the bolsters to the handle. Very hard to get the bolsters flat 360 degrees around the tang! None of my file guides work due to either width or difficulty clamping with the rounded surfaces. If I continue trying to do it with files by eye and chance.. the things will be gone soon! Any ideas? Somebody on Facebook mentioned using a lathe... but I don't have a working one right now. Ughh...

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Maybe make the handle material a little bit larger than the bolsters, and countersink the bolster into the handle a little bit?

 

Another thing that I did when making pipe stems before I got a lathe was to drill a hole in a FLAT block, then glue sandpaper to the block. Poke the tenon (tang) through the hole and spin the blade on the paper. Slower than Christmas, but it does work, eventually.

 

There's a gunsmith I know of who makes what he calls "hand mills" by annealing a file, drilling a hole the correct size, then re-hardening the file. Insert tang, spin blade. Same idea as the sanding block, but works faster.

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Thank you Alan. That sure does make sense. I'm now starting to get good ideas.. but after I gave up and just cut the tang off and sanded it flat. It now has a nice new 1/4" round tang tapped in!

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well I'm stuck on this. I decided to do it as a hidden tang and it turns out that this decision makes it 100 times harder to fit the bolsters to the handle. Very hard to get the bolsters flat 360 degrees around the tang! None of my file guides work due to either width or difficulty clamping with the rounded surfaces. If I continue trying to do it with files by eye and chance.. the things will be gone soon! Any ideas? Somebody on Facebook mentioned using a lathe... but I don't have a working one right now. Ughh...

I'm a bit late, but...

 

I have a nice, big, cheap vise that has a very flat face. I simply clamp the knife by the bolster in the vise, point down, and use the face of the vise as a file guide. Works pretty good, though I'm sure there is a better way to do it.

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I'm a bit late, but...

 

I have a nice, big, cheap vise that has a very flat face. I simply clamp the knife by the bolster in the vise, point down, and use the face of the vise as a file guide. Works pretty good, though I'm sure there is a better way to do it.

 

Yeah.. I actually started filing down the tops of one of my vises.. but got frustrated and quit. I suppose I could have unbolted my milling vice. But I'm happy with my solution on this one.. especially since it's a kitchen knife. But that tapped joint I made can hardly be considered weak anyway. Just not the 'elegant' solution.

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